Having successfully passed the required Knowledge Tests, the applicant can now address the practical aspects of the procedure. These are the General Skills Tests and they are assessed in three sections, Pre-Trip Inspection, Basic Vehicle Control and On-Road Driving. Each test is designed to assess the applicant's ability, but also to reinforce the attitude of professionalism and safety that will be essential to them as a licensed commercial driver.
The first of these is the Pre-trip Test. In keeping with the theme of anticipation, the CDL driver will consistently carry out a Pre-trip inspection of their vehicle before each trip, so this test is largely a process that will become routine once the applicant begins driving professionally.
The test will be carried out to see that the applicant knows whether the vehicle is safe to drive. This could well include the examiner asking the applicant to complete a Pre-trip inspection, explaining each element of it as they do so.
Many applicants improve their chances of passing the this portion of the CDL skills test with a pre-trip video and CDL inspection checklist. Get more information on how to pass the CDL pre-trip using eGears.
Basic Vehicle Control Test
This test will assess the applicant's ability to maneuver the vehicle in simple situations, such as forward, reverse and turns in defined areas. The CDL examiner will make clear the manner in which each aspect of the control test is to be fulfilled.
While the area set out for the test may be indicated with cones or similar markers, it is worth remembering that they are placed to simulate the distances and features of real-life scenarios. As with the last test before the applicant is asked to demonstrate their skills on the public roads, it is imperative that their understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the vehicle are as complete as possible.
On-Road Driving Test
As the final test, the On-Road Driving Test is the applicant's opportunity to demonstrate their skill in operating the vehicle safely and efficiently on public roads. The on-road test could include lane changes, left and right turns, general intersection behavior, varying gradients and a variety of road situations. This is not a test to "show off" the applicant's ability, but more the chance to display the skills and behavior of a professional driver, maintaining a safe and courteous attitude to other road users, while fulfilling their work. The examiner will direct the applicant on where to drive and on what maneuvers they are required to perform.
Due to the need for specially designed testing areas, the Skills Tests can only be carried out at properly equipped sites. In Arkansas, these sites are Little Rock, Newport, Russellville, Hope, Pine Bluff and Springdale and, in most cases, it is Skills Tests are only undertaken by appointment. To locate the test site the website below provides contact details and addresses.
Upon passing the CDL skills test in Arkansas, the applicant will be able to get a CDL (Commercial Driver's License) after presenting the correct documentation and paying the licensing fee. Find out how to get a CDL issued from the Arkansas BMV on the next page.